Benjamin's on 10th street, in Wilmington, makes the best cheesesteak sandwich in Delaware. It's the classic philly formula executed to perfection - loads of meat and cheese and whatever else you want on it, grilled hot and fresh and piled deep onto an Amoroso roll. It's reasonably priced and tastes fantastic, and is served with chips.
Honestly, you won't get a cheesesteak better than that in the Delaware valley. Even the vaunted Pats is not really in the same league.
Delaware's greatest cheesesteak place also serves a number of excellent breaksfast dishes until around 10am. Their sausage egg and cheese on a bagel has to be the best deal in protein around, but if you are looking for just a toasted bagel, Benjamin's serves a good one too.
Lunch at Benjamin's features the cheesesteak, and many variations thereof, but the rest of the menu does not disappoint. Benjamin's also fixes a rather excellent burger. The chicken salad is wonderful, and, their chicken soup, when they serve it, is outstanding. Fried chicken sandwiches are a favorite of mine for a post workout day meal. French fries are ordered separately, but are ample, and perfectly cooked. For desert, Benjamin's cupcakes are one of Wilmington's best kept secrets, and I would confidentally recommend their cookies.
Like most of downtown Wilmington's smaller eateries, Benjamin's aligns itself to the work week, and is open from around 7-2. The interior decore reminds me a bit of an old school diner. A small Olgas, I wonder? There are booths on one side, and barstools at the other. As my office is across the street, I rarely sit down, but a lot of people do. The place is clean and comfortable. You can call your order ahead.
Benjamin's service is excellent. The folks there remember the names of regulars, and meals are cooked fresh, and hot. Portion sizes are excellent. A small cheesesteak will fill you, and the older folks should know that is the sort of thing that will keep you moving too.
The blend on the soda machine is the best in downtown Wilmington, and there is also a refrigerator case for those who prefer bottles.
My friends understand that I have a small obsession with Diet Coke, and Benjamin's does an excellent job of keeping me into my habit. The soda fountain is well balanced, and serves probably one of the crispest, most refreshing mixes around Wilmington. I certainly prefer it to 7-11's watery product, and even Wawa is in some decline. Only McDonalds matches it, frankly, but then McDonald's otherwise excellent soda experience is undermined by the smaller size of their large. 24 oz is simply unacceptable, and Benjamin's serves a 32oz which works quite nicely.
Now the region's nationally infamous Philadelphia attitude is one born of hope followed by tragedy. We could talk about broken economic teeth and a million jobs gone, the closing of the textile mills, shipyards, banks, and other institutions. But really, one of the worst blows was when the Eagles fumbled a chipshot field goal to blow a game against the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. When that happens to you, throwing snowballs at a drunken Santa almost seems genteel.
Yet, the world smacks against Philly, godless zombie cretin halloween vampire bastards judging the people of the this fine area. It almost makes a righteous patriot want to scream, "How dare you judge Philly, when you can't even cook a steak sandwich right!"
A Philly steak in New York City? That's an automatic no. Met's genes automatically ruin that sandwich. How about Virginia? There's a place in Roanoke that says they make the best. They toast it and serve it open face with a fork! God's no! That's the Pickett's Charge of culinary failure! How about Subway? I appreciate them paying Ryan Howard the big bucks, but honestly, that thing they serve up isn't a steak sandwich. Where's the grill? Hell - where's the steak? There's more meat in the leftovers that fall off of the roll from a Benjamin's cheesteak than there is in that puny cardboard cup Subway calls a serving.
The injustice is appalling.
But there is truth, and redemption, and victory, at Benjamin's on 10th, the best goddamned cheesesteak in Delaware, if not the entire Delaware valley. A cheesesteak is a pretty simple thing, but it takes convinction and guts to stick to the simplicity of it and to make one well. Benjamin's on 10th does it right, every time. If you are in the area, slide on over there, and get some truth in you. Hey, if you are a Mets fan, you'll probably still be in league with Satan, but at least you'll have tasted truth, and you will not be short of protein.